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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Lara A. Weaver, D.V.M.

OCW Zoological Medicine 2008
Laboratory Animal Medicine (2008)
L. Weaver, DVM
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

1. Research Settings

Critical Needs for Research in Veterinary Science from the National Research Council

  • Human, animal, applied vs. basic vs. clinical research

  • Industry: Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Devices, Consumer Products

  • Academia: Colleges, Universities (Medical/Dental/Veterinary), Veterinary Technician programs, Research hospitals

  • Government: Military, NIH, USDA, FDA, CDC

2. Applicable Regulations, Guidelines and Policies

  • Dictated by species involved and sources of research funding

  • The Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals including the U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research and Training [Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), National Institutes of Health (NIH)] – requires compliance if government funding is awarded, covers all vertebrate animals

  • Animal Welfare Act (7 USC Sections 2131-2159) and Animal Welfare Regulations (9 C.F.R. chapter 1), [United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Welfare] – currently excludes rats of genus Rattus, mice of genus Mus and birds

  • The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (OLAW), compliance required if government funding is received

  • The Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (Federation of Animal Science Societies) – adopted by the USDA and AAALACi as source of guidelines for agricultural species

  • The Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALACi) – no regulatory authority (utilize other regulations and guidelines during site visits), optional accreditation program

  • State laws (vary from state to state, usually enforced by Anti-cruelty unit – e.g. MSPCA or Animal Rescue League affiliate)

  • Local laws (Cambridge, MA and Berkeley, CA have local laws pertaining to animal research)

  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) guidelines and policies (institutional level)

3. Role of the Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care


  • Prevent Diagnose, Control and Treat Disease

  • Prevent, Alleviate and Minimize Pain and Distress

  • Provide Research Support Information and Services

  • Develop and Manage Animal Husbandry Programs

  • Execute Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Veterinary Responsibilities

  • Design and Operate Laboratory Animal Facilities

  • Provide consultation Governing Appropriate Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

  • Educate Scientific, Animal Care and Ancillary Staff

  • Collaborate on the Selection and Development of Animal Models

  • Design and Conduct Research

(Taken From the ACLAM Role Delineation Document )

See also the Public Position Statement on Adequate Veterinary Care of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. This document is available at


Excerpted from the Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals , p. 56.

Veterinary medical care is an essential part of an animal care and use program. Adequate veterinary care consists of effective programs for:

  • Preventive medicine.

  • Surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, and control of disease, including zoonosis control.

  • Management of protocol-associated disease, disability, or other sequelae.

  • Anesthesia and analgesia.

  • Surgery and postsurgical care.

  • Assessment of animal well-being.

  • Euthanasia.

A veterinary-care program is the responsibility of the attending veterinarian, who is certified or has training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine or in the care of the species being used. Some aspects of the veterinary-care program can be conducted by persons other than a veterinarian, but a mechanism for direct and frequent communication should be established to ensure that timely and accurate information is conveyed to the veterinarian on problems associated with animal health, behavior, and well-being. The veterinarian must provide guidance to investigators and all personnel involved in the care and use of animals to ensure appropriate handling, immobilization, sedation, analgesia, anesthesia, and euthanasia. The attending veterinarian must provide guidance or oversight to surgery programs and oversight of postsurgical care.


"Each research facility shall employ an attending veterinarian under formal arrangements. In the case of a part-time attending veterinarian or consultant arrangements, the formal arrangements shall include a written program of veterinary care and regularly scheduled visits to the research facility " 2004 USDA, APHIS, Animal Care.

9 CFR, Subchapter A, Animal Welfare, 2.32. This document can be viewed at

4. Issues of concern in Laboratory Animal Medicine

  • Compliance with existing regulations, guidelines and policies

  • Implementation of the 3 Rs (Replace, Reduce, Refine)

  • Russell W.M.S. and Burch R.L. 1959. The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. London: Methuen and Co. Ltd.

  • Availability of funding for laboratory animal research and research utilizing laboratory animals

  • Management of space allocation and distribution of other resources (shared equipment, procedure rooms, etc.)

  • Animal welfare issues in public arena (potential for negative publicity)

5. Support Resources and Continuing Education

5.1. Professional Organizations

5.2. Formalized Training/Board Certification

6. Reference and Resources

6.1. Web Resources

Because World Wide Web Resources are most easily accessed via computer, this listing will mainly include web addresses of sites that serve as clearinghouses for specific topics. Selected web sites from universities that provide comprehensive listings of institutional policies, guidelines, and forms are also included. Other web sites may be found in each chapter; organizational websites will be found in the Organizations chapter.


Altweb is a site for news, information, discussion, and resources from the field of alternatives toanimal testing. This site is a collaborative effort funded by the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation, the Doerenkamp - Zbinden Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, the Office for Protection from Research Risks at the National Institutes of Health, and the Procter & Gamble Company. It is being developed by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with the Altweb Project Team, to serve academic, industrial and government scientists, educators, the media, and the general public.

Altweb is intended to foster the development of scientifically acceptable in vitro and other alternatives to animal testing. Alternatives are defined as methods which reduce animal use, replace whole animal tests, or refine existing tests by minimizing animal distress.

Need help locating alternatives databases or funding sources? Check out Science & Regulations. Want to learn about the latest software and other computer resources available for your junior high? See Educational Resources. Want to know more about the history of the alternative movement? See General information.

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science

Animal Welfare USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

This site provides access to the USDA agency that administers two laws that seek to ensure the humane handling of animals: the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA). Included are:

  • full-text versions of the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, USDA animal welfare regulations, standards, and policies;

  • Annual report to Congress;

  • lists of licensed or registered research facilities, dealers, breeders, carriers, and exhibitors;

  • fact sheets and other miscellaneous information;

  • Freedom of Information records;

  • publications; and

  • Missing Pet Network.

Anesthesia and Analgesia of Laboratory Animals

Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

This site provides access to:

  • full-text versions of all pertinent Federal laws, regulations, guidelines and policies, and links to international laws;

  • AWIC newsletters;

  • AWIC publications;

  • links to databases, information on alternatives, farm animals, and organizations;

  • links to the National Agricultural Library, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Office for Protection from Research Risks, and NetVet.

American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP)

On August 24, 1966, the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act , Public Law 89-544, became law. This law mandated that "adequate veterinary care" be provided for some species of laboratory animals kept under certain conditions. At that time, there was no organization open to all interested veterinarians which was dedicated exclusively to the problems of laboratory animal practice. Nor was there an organization devoted to the promotion or training of veterinarians engaged in laboratory animal practice.

On September 29, 1966, thirty-seven concerned veterinarians met to discuss the organizational needs in the field of laboratory animal practice. This meeting resulted in the decision to form the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners (ASLAP). On July 11, 1967, ASLAP was incorporated in the State of Illinois and was recognized as an ancillary organization of the American Veterinary Medical Association . On July 3, 1986, ASLAP became an affiliate of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science . In 1971, ASLAP attained sufficient numbers of members to have a voting representative in the House of Delegates of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Formulary for Laboratory Animals , 3rd ed. (2005) Compiled by C. Terrance Hawke, Steven L. Leary and Timothy H. Morris. Blackwell Publishing.

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals , Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1996.

Full text online version.

IACUC Training and Learning Consortium (IACUC TLC)

Few people know it, but the idea for this site was first proposed by Ken Boschert several years ago. The site has been developed and maintained under the direction of Nicole Duffee, DVM, Washington University. The IACUC Training and Learning Consortium Task Force is an ad hoc committee established by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) with the charges:

  1. To produce a comprehensive core course to train IACUC members.

  2. To develop, design and provide oversight for this IACUC training course.

  3. To develop, design and provide oversight for a Web site ( for comprehensive information and resources on all matters pertaining to IACUCs.

  4. To establish a listerv (IACUC-FORUM) for IACUC members and staff to encourage dynamic information exchange on the IACUC process.

  5. To establish an advisory group representing a national consortium of organizations with shared interest in the education and training of IACUC members to jointly sponsor the IACUC training initiative, with AALAS coordinating the effort.

This site provides access to:

  • General Information | Listserv | Partners;

  • Alternatives;

  • Bibliography of IACUC Topics, Databases, Example Forms and Documents;

  • Laws, Policies, Guidelines and Other Documents;

  • Institutional Research Policies and Procedure Guidelines;

  • Journals and Publications, Meetings, and Organizations;

  • Training - IACUC members; and

  • Training - Laboratory Animal Care and Use.

Information Resources for Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees 1985-1999. AWIC Resource Series No. 7

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Guidebook (NIH)

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Intramural Animal Care and Use (ACU) Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Although this page is intended to serve as an information resource for NIH scientists, Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) members, veterinarians, animal science specialists, and other NIH staff involved in the conduct of biomedical research at NIH, the information presented is certainly of use to other animal care and use committees. A very well-done site.

Lab Animal IACUC Resource Page

This site is provided by Lab Animal magazine and contains the following:

  • IACUC Reading Room Recent Lab Animal articles for the IACUC member. Browse article selections, and enjoy full-text access in either PDF or HTML formats.

  • Protocol Review Jerry Silverman's popular "Protocol Review" column. Join your colleagues in resolving "Great Eastern University's" IACUC quandaries. Perfect for training, or simply honing your review skills.

  • Regulatory Updates

  • IACUC-Related Links:

    • IACUC Resources on the Web

    • Alternatives

    • Databases & Search Functions

    • Endpoints & Pain Management Literature

    • Search for Alternatives (USDA Policy 12)

    • Pain & Distress

    • Regulations and Policies

    • Training

Laboratory animal welfare training exchange (LAWTE)

The Laboratory Animal Welfare Training Exchange is an organization of people who train in and for the laboratory animal science field. By sharing ideas on methods and materials for training, our members can learn together how best to meet the training and qualification requirements of national regulations and guidelines.

Since 1994, conferences have been held every two years for trainers to exchange information on their training programs in the U.S. and abroad. They have been attended by institutional representatives from the U.S. and around the world.

Massachusetts Society for Medical Research (MSMR)

This site provides access to the MSMR Nation-Wide Resources List - an interactive listing of state biomedical research organizations and national organizations that promote biomedical research. To access the home page of MSMR, click on the Home Page icon at the bottom of the page.

National Agricultural Library's (NAL) Web Gateway to AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access)

AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access) is a machine-readable database of bibliographic records created by the National Agricultural Library and its cooperators. Production of these records in electronic form began in 1970, but the database covers materials dating from the 16th century to the present. The records describe publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines, including plant and animal sciences, forestry, entomology, soil and water resources, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, agricultural products, alternative farming practices, and food and nutrition. Auxiliary subjects that support NAL's Information Center activities, such as agricultural trade and marketing, rural information, and animal welfare, are also included.

National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Web Gateway

The NLM Gateway accesses multiple retrieval systems which:

  • Provide an easy way to search the 11 million references and abstracts in the MEDLINE database.

  • Use PubMed's retrieval engine to link to about 400 journals for full text of articles (some publishers may require a subscription) and provide pre-computed sets of relevant MEDLINE articles;

  • Offer NLM's Medical Subject Headings for searching; and

  • Use Loansome Doc for document delivery services (there may be local charges).

NetVet Veterinary Resources and the Electronic Zoo Perhaps the Web's most comprehensive listing of animal-related web sites, NetVet & the Electronic Zoo were created by Ken Boschert, DVM, at Washington University's Division of Comparative Medicine, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Among this server's Web Pages are numerous views of Veterinary Medical and Animal resources available on the Internet and beyond. Topics include: What's New, a site Search engine, Career information, Education, Veterinary Specialties, Organizations, Meetings, Directory, E-Lists, Publications, Images, Government, Commerce, ElectronicZoo.

Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), NIH Office of Extramural Research This site provides access to the NIH agency that administers animal welfare assurances of Public Health Service fundholders. Information provided includes:

  • Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, March, 1996

  • 1996 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, National Academy of Sciences

  • Health Research Extension Act of 1985, Public Law 99-158, November 20, 1985, Section 495, "Animals in Research"

  • Tutorial on the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

  • Sample Documents for Implementation of the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

  • Institutional Animal Care And Use Committee Guidebook, ARENA

  • World Wide Web Resources for the IACUC - an excellent compilation of sites providing useful IACUC information.

6.2. University IACUC Sites

Florida State University Laboratory Animal Program

University of California, Irvine Animal Subjects Tutorials

University of California, San Francisco; Laboratory Animal Research Center

University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center

University of Florida Animal Care & Use

University of Minnesota, Research Animal Resources

6.3. Journals

Comparative Medicine and Journal of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (JALAAS)

Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) Journal

ILAR Journal is the quarterly, peer-reviewed publication of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), which is a unit of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. ILAR Journal provides thoughtful and timely information for all those who use, care for, and oversee the use of laboratory animals. Provides access to online version of the journal and many back issues; a searchable index is available.


Laboratory Animals

6.4. Texts and Articles

Fox JG, et al (eds). 2002. Laboratory Animal Medicine , 2nd edition. Orlando, Florida: Academic Press.

Hrapkiewicz K and Medina L. 2007. Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine , 3rd edition. Wiley-Blackwell.

Silverman J, Suckow MA and Murthy S (eds.). 2006. The IACUC Handbook , 2nd edition. CRC Press.

Suckow MA, Douglas FA, Weichbrod RH (eds.) 2001. Management of Laboratory Animal Care and Use Programs . CRC Press.

6.5. Media

ACLAM Lab Animal Medicine and Science Series II CD. Great resource!!

ACLAM Career Pathway Powerpoint Presentations